Memories of Ericeira’s surfing: Miguel Fortes


Photography: RR


When did you start surfing? Was it in Ericeira or elsewhere?

I started surfing in Ericeira in 1982. It was at Praia do Sul with a styrofoam board. My first surfing on a real surfboard was in Praia do Peixe during the winter and without a wetsuit. The board was from Kauai, there were about ten of us and we caught waves one at the time.


There were already many people surfing in Ericeira when you started to catch waves here?

There was virtually no one surfing around the village, at that time there were half a dozen: Álvaro ‘Cigano’ Botelho, ‘Zéquinha’, [Luís] Azambuja and ‘Fonzie’ – at the time, there was already surfing in Ribeira d’Ilhas.

At what spots or beaches would you surf the most?

At the time we surfed on Praia do Sul, Foz do Lizandro, Limipicos and Pedra Branca. Then, a year later, we started going to Ribeira d’Ilhas and to Coxos.


What memories do you keep from those golden times?

Great surfing sessions with a few people.

surfing used to be an adventure and we used to be happy when we saw people in the water

What have been the biggest changes since you started surfing?

The waves did not change much, except for the WWTP [Editor’s note: Wastewater Treatment Plant] in Ribeira d’Ilhas, what really changed was the number of surfers.


Are you still surfing? How often? Do you try to escape the crowd?

Yes, i surf practically every day in Coxos, so it is impossible to escape the crowd.

Has the essence of surfing in Ericeira also changed?

Yes, surfing used to be an adventure and we used to be happy when we saw people in the water. Now it is mass surfing and a lot of tourism.


What changed after the consecration of the World Surfing Reserve in 2011?

The World Surfing Reserve, in my opinion, made Ericeira explode in terms of tourism and brought many surfers from Northern Europe who discovered that, after all, Ericeira is not just all about Summer and that in Winter it has good waves, causing many to become residents, which gave rise to a community of resident foreigners. The positive aspect in all this is that it ended up creating many opportunities and jobs in the surfing industry and in the hotel industry.

Esta publicação também está disponível em | This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)